Life After Life

Life After Life What if you could live again and again until you got it right On a cold and snowy night in Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife She dies before she can draw her first breath On

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife She dies before she can draw her first breath On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual For as she grows, she also dieWhat if you could live again and again, until you got it right On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife She dies before she can draw her first breath On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war Does Ursula s apparently infinite number of lives give her the power to save the world from its inevitable destiny And if she can will she

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Life After Life

  1. Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster When Will There Be Good News was voted Richard Judy Book Best Read of the Year After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who makes a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog.

204 Reply to “Life After Life”

  1. What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right Ursula Todd is born in a snowstorm in England in 1910 but dies before she can take her first breath During that same snowstorm she was born again and lives to tell the tale again and again Life after Life tells the story of Ursula s lives, as with each new life she makes small changes that send her on a completely different path.I feel like I m the only person on the planet that thought this book was ove [...]

  2. I wanted to like this book I wish I could enjoy it I bought it with such enthusiasm, and couldn t wait to start reading it But alas, I sensed almost at the very start that it wasn t going to be a happy relationship a point confirmed by mid way through the book.The length, the repetitive scenes, the incredible number of times Ursula dies and is reborn, are all tedious and terrible torment to get through 2 3rds in, I found myself offended for having my time wasted Surely Atkinson could show the co [...]

  3. kate atkinson has written a lovely, accordion fold of a novel hereis is not a jackson brodie novel, which are always much better than your typical detective novels, even though i haven t read the last one yet merp , but this one is just so much ambitious in scope and style than even those gems it is sublime its most simplistic, it is about ursula, a character who will be born and die all in the first two pages excluding what i am considering to be a prologue and then again and again she will di [...]

  4. DECEMBER 2013Paul Bryant had really only just started driving back home, was still trying with his left hand to jam the seat belt buckle into its lock, and multitasking like mad he was thinking about how to review Life After Life, and probably getting too caught up in the various amusing ways it could be done, so that he simply didn t notice the car poking far too far out of the side street When finally he did, he had to swerve like crazy, right into the oncoming traffic What with his seatbelt n [...]

  5. Ursula Todd is born in the midst of a blizzard in 1910, not once, but many times, during the course of her life living only to die and be born again, repeatedly, traveling many paths until she lives the life she was meant to live.Kate Atkinson s writing is superb, and lyrical enough that it carried me through to the end of this book The plot, however, left me floundering for weeks, trying desperately to claw my way to the end of this depressing tale While the premise reincarnation and destiny is [...]

  6. Oh dear dear dear dear dear Obviously I m on another planet to all the other reviewers here, but try as I might, I simply had to give up on page 265d call it a day.The concept of constant re births and lives was a good one but sadly, for me,the incidents throughout were so tame and tepid, and the characters that popped into Ursula s lives were so boring, I m afraid the whole thing was like watching paint dry.Remember that feeling of rushing to get back to a book to read what happens next This wa [...]

  7. I m pretty sure the idea of being forced to live my life over and over again is something plucked from my worst nightmares, but who among us hasn t been at least tempted to dream of it occasionally with a wistful sigh Please, please, please, just one chance to live the best moments again and when necessary, to make different choices But I would imagine if any of us were actually tasked to unravel all the right and wrong choices from our life and to relive the bad with the good, we d go screamin [...]

  8. So much great writing and characterization Such an interesting premise and structure Wonderful use of humor and irony thank you, Teresa throughout Remarkable depictions of The Blitz I want to give this book 5 stars But I can t A bit of editing would have helped but that s a quibble It s very difficult to go back over the same territory over and over again and keep it interesting Atkinson did this amazingly well, tho there were moments of, oh not this again The real blooper for me was Ursula view [...]

  9. This book is so painfully fantastic, I m going to kind of ignore the fact that it stops making sense at the end Is there a word that simultaneously means achingly lovely frustratingly confusing Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck dies without ever drawing breath Ursula Todd is born in 1910 with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck The doctor cuts the cord Ursula grows to age five, when she drowns in the ocean on holiday Ursula Todd is born in 1910 wi [...]

  10. Chances are you ve already heard about the device Atkinson used to tell this remarkable story It was February of 1910 when baby Ursula died at birth, but she was granted a narrative do over Next time the doctor made it through the snowstorm to sever the umbilical cord that was strangling her She also got another chance after tumbling from the roof trying to reach a doll her malignant older brother had thrown there Similar life after death sequences played out after a seaside drowning, the Spanis [...]

  11. I m embarrassed to say I didn t really understand this book I m a huge Kate Atkinson fan and I think she s one of the most creative writers I ve ever read And I loved the idea of this book Ursula is born, dies, and is born again, living different sometimes very different versions of her life over and over again One of my problems is that there didn t seem to be any rules like there usually are in books about time travel and other magical occurrences Sometime Ursula seems to remember the past ver [...]

  12. I m rating this book two stars only on a technicality which is that technically speaking, this book sucks.Ursula Todd is an English born nobody Born into a large wealthy family, there isn t a whole lot about her that stands out She shares a closeness with one or two of her siblings, but overall she has a pretty meek personality and remains largely invisible most of her life with the caveat that most of her life in Ursula s case actually means most of her lives because this bitch keeps on droppin [...]

  13. What I expected to be Borgesian, absolutely meta, actually turned out a tad gimmicky and, no joke, choose your own adventure like But no problem It has a huge heart employs a super witty use of parentheticals, of asides It is optimistic in the face of oblivion W.W.II And, even though I know I insult discerning readers when I say that this is like Ian McEwan s Atonement, Redux but this novel is Atonement Redux.

  14. What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right Wouldn t that be wonderful Life After Life is a novel I probably wouldn t have chosen for myself And how sad it is to think that I might have passed this novel over and never known these characters and relationships It often seems like I am the only person in the world who hasn t watched Downton Abbey definitely the only Brit who hasn t but the favourable comparisons I keep seeing between the show and this book m [...]

  15. The snake devouring its tail is an ancient symbol of wholeness, infinity, renewal, and eternal return It symbolizes the cyclic nature of the universe, creation out of destruction, life after death Likewise, the famous Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, advanced the concept of the Shadow self, the parts of your self that are hidden from society The process of becoming whole, psychically, is to integrate the unconscious Shadow and conscious selves, through deep meditation, dreams, or long journeys tha [...]

  16. What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right Wouldn t that be wonderful Would it I believe everyone would love a chance to go back and change things in their past Correct mistakes in order to change their life or their loved ones lives for the better But changing one thing may only lead to a new problem then you have to go back, change the first mistake, then the second one, and so on I don t know about you, but this sounds exhausting to me.Ursula gets the [...]

  17. Don t you wonder sometimes, Ursula said If just one small thing had been changed, in the past, I mean If Hitler had died at birth, or if someone had kidnapped him as a baby and brought him up in I don t know, say, a Quaker household surely things would be different Kate Atkinson, author of eight previous novels, including four Jackson Brodie crime books, has come up with a nifty notion for a story Kill off your heroine, early and often, while offering a look at the history of England from 1910 t [...]

  18. Bollocks I struggled to find a word which would describe my reaction to Life After Life Kate Atkinson s latest novel, released to considerable hype and I came up with this It s no perfect but then my reaction is not perfectly uniform as well one can t accuse ms Atkinson of being a hack and phoning her book in, not having an interesting enough idea or even of being a poor writer She writes well, her concept is interesting and her writing flows easily and doesn t obstruct the storyline which is no [...]

  19. No point in thinking, you just have to get on with life We only have one after all, we should try and do our best We can never get it right, but we must try While I can understand the mixed reaction, and wouldn t call it a book for everyone, Life After Life is a beautifully written, acutely English, slow burner of a novel, a beautiful piece of family drama and comedy, and a fantastic work of historical fiction It s wrapped in a high concept conceit of our protagonist Ursula s continual birth and [...]

  20. This is one of those books that causes a book hangover I can t easily go onto the next book and I have three other holds in from the library at the same time so this presents a problem because I can t stop thinking about Life After Life In fact, I couldn t sleep last night for thinking of the book and finally needed to read under the covers for over an hour in the middle of the night before I could sleep I imagine I m not alone in letting my mind wander on flights of fancy in the land of what if [...]

  21. From a scientific point of view, he said, perhaps the part of your brain responsible for memory has a little flaw, a neurological problem that leads you to think that you are repeating experiences As if something had got stuck She wasn t really dying and being reborn, he said, she just thought she was Ursula couldn t see what the difference was Was she stuck And if so, where Sylvie sighed You do have a very vivid imagination, Ursula Ursula may have a vivid imagination, but so has Kate Atkinson [...]

  22. A lovely and unusual book about reincarnation, free will and destiny.Ursula Todd was born on a snowy day in February with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck That was the first time she diedI loved how Kate Atkinson built this story through seemingly insignificant details As the reincarnations progress, layers are added upon layers, so that by the end of this tale, it is a rich tapestry of events, emotions and possibilities.I was surprised by the open endedness of this story I feel like A [...]

  23. What if you could go back and kill Hitler I think that s a question many people have asked themselves in their lives It s one of the biggest what ifs of the last century And in this novel, it was the plot point I was most in denial about I was fearful that such a question as the premise of a novel as the opening scene shows our main character, Ursula Todd, shooting Hitler would be gimmicky But we are immediately transported back to 1910 when Ursula is born on a cold snowy night And dies Then she [...]

  24. I m not sure I can communicate how angry this book made me and how angry I am that gave up enough of my life to read all 529 pages I m less mad at Atkinson, who thought she had a good idea, than I am at the idiotic book critics slobbering all over this nonsensical novel.Many people have compared this book to the movie Groundhog Day where the main character lives the same day over and over In Life After Life, the main character is born, lives a varying length of time, dies, and is born again The [...]

  25. There is a fine line between living and dying, a character observes in Kate Atkinson s new novel And it does certainly seem to be the case here, in the midst of two world wars, during the Great Influenza, at the beginning of the twentieth century in Britain Characters come close to death, and some do not escape it alternate histories are woven together until we are not really sure what is true And this is the message History is all about what ifs a character says late in the novel More to the po [...]

  26. 2.5 stars I didn t know it then, but some of my schoolwork from my younger days were palimpsests, manuscripts on which the original writing has been erased to make room for later writing, but where traces of the original writing remain.Ursula Todd compares her life lives to a palimpsest she has an apparently infinite number of do overs of her life It s kind of like Groundhog Day, except that she starts over at birth each time, and each life ends with her death She has frequent deja vu experience [...]

  27. I love the perspective this book gave me on the meanings of mortality and clues about how to make sense of all the choices life is made of I experienced a lot of difficulty over digesting what this book is about for the first 100 pages or so, but ultimately was glad I chose just to ride with it without worrying about what it means The meaning part filtered in on my personal river Call it speculative fiction if you will, but the book involves an alternative reality plot I don t mind calling scien [...]

  28. Onvan Life After Life Nevisande Kate Atkinson ISBN 316176486 ISBN13 9780316176484 Dar 531 Safhe Saal e Chap 2013

  29. One character show up in different historical moments of the Blitz during WWII Reincarnation Deja vue Perhaps Like young Ursula s drawing of a snake with his tail in his mouth, which the psychiatrist, Dr Kellet, deemed a symbol of the circularity of the universe Time is a construct, in reality everything flows, no past or present, only the now, he said It would have been a scary thought for Sylvie, who refused to drink the tea offered by Dr Kellet from his Russian samovar Any tea out of anything [...]

  30. Time isn t circular, she said to Dr Kellet It s like a palimpsest Oh dear, he said That sounds vexing And memories are sometimes in the future A preternaturally wise ten year old Ursula Todd offers us this succinct thematic summation of Life After Life near the book s end, after she has lived and died many times A palimpsest is also the perfect metaphor for Kate Atkinson s luminous novel Its multiple layers of theme and plot pile up like shadows, visible through the translucent onion skin of ima [...]

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